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Palestinian Territories: New Breakthrough in Youth Worker Training and Reconciliation in the Palesti

March 11, 2007

For many years Musalaha put great effort into training Youth Leaders. In 2006 the Danish Israel Mission and Danish Youth Council joined in helping with our youth leader training project and the work increased tremendously. Musalaha was able to send youth workers to to be trained and at the same time inform people in about the ministry of Musalaha.

The effect of the conflict on youth is significant, and considering that both the Israeli and Palestinian populations are young, the needs and requests for more work among the youth and youth leaders are increasing. Musalaha’s training was making a noticeable impact as we received positive responses and encouragement from local churches and communities. More and more youth were asking to participate in our reconciliation activities, yet there was still a lack of trained youth leaders in their communities who could provide guidance, support and further training. This positive response and the lack of trained youth leaders prompted us to start a new major initiative of youth worker training in the Palestinian areas, which would allow us to address specific local needs and issues.

The new initiative started by sending four Palestinian youth leaders to for extensive training. Two came from the Bethlehem area and two from Ramallah in the north West Bank area. After returning from their three-week intensive training, they, along with two Danish volunteers, began developing a training curriculum that would address some of the specific needs and issues of youth leaders in the Palestinian areas and which would also include a reconciliation component. The training course has 2-4 workshops per month for seven months, and includes teaching on leadership, youth development, Christian Palestinians history and history of the conflict, spirituality, discipleship, identity and reconciliation.

The training has a two-fold purpose. The first purpose is combining youth training with reconciliation, two inseparable issues in addressing the impact of the conflict on the youth. The need for training is significant, but training without addressing the conflict and reconciliation will be lacking. This value is reflected even in the team-teaching provided by two excellent youth-trainers, George Filmon and Yoel Goldburg. George, a Palestinian, and Yoel, an Israeli, are able to model reconciliation to the participants as they teach. Yoel said, “this is one of the most enriching experiences I have had in training.”

The second purpose is to recruit youth leaders from a wide spectrum of churches including Catholic, Syrian, Greek Orthodox, Anglican, and Evangelical. We recognize the need to increase understanding, cooperation and unity among the different Christian traditions. Some of the leaders were concerned that churches might not participate if the training is done under the name of Musalaha, a ministry known among the church as standing for reconciliation between Israeli and Palestinian. The response, however, was overwhelming and the leaders were amazed at the eager participation from all the churches.

This new initiative has created a unique opportunity for youth leaders from all the churches in the Palestinian Authority to participate together. Thirty youth leaders from the Bethlehem area and twenty from the Ramallah area are meeting regularly for the training. In addition, we are offering extra in-depth training for the evangelical youth leaders who had previously received some of the teaching. Musalaha is offering unprecedented learning experience that brings all the different denominations and Christian traditions together, encouraging cooperation, increasing understanding among the Christian traditions as they develop personal friendship, sharing the joys and the difficulties of youth work in their communities, and then exploring new ways they can collaborate and support each their.

We at Musalaha are thrilled to see how collaboration and training can have such a huge impact on the communities. God has truly done more than we could ever “think or imagine”! We are seeing increased reconciliation among the youth leaders in the Body of the Messiah, we have a youth training team that is growing in experience and effectiveness, and we have a greater understanding of the needs and issues faced among the youth in the Palestinian Territories . We are receiving encouraging reports from the youth leaders regarding the content, style and teaching that they are receiving. One of the project coordinators commented, “The great thing about this program is that it does not first and foremost train you to lead other people. Rather, it will help you to know yourself, your identity and your background in order to lead yourself and thus enable you to lead others better.”

We are thrilled by this new breakthrough in youth-leader training and reconciliation, and would like to multiply it in other parts of the country. With adequate funding we received from the Danish Youth Council for the Palestinian side of the youth work, we were able to have this break through. We would appreciate your prayers and support as we look for funding to sponsor the Israeli side of the youth work. We knew there was a great need, and now we have the trained leaders and a tested curriculum to help meet the need. Through this we have new opportunities to influence and impact other segments of society.

Prayer Requests

Youth Leadership Training , , March 8-13

Musalaha is offering an advanced leadership training course for Palestinian and Israeli youth leaders who have already participated in our beginners course. Please pray for travel safety and for the youth leaders as they go back to their youth groups to use the acquired skills and to carry on their new friendships independently.

Women\'s Conference , , March 8-13

The women from Musalaha\'s four smaller women\'s groups are invited to an intensive leadership training course in . The purpose of the course is to equip Israeli and Palestinian women with tools to reach their communities with the message of reconciliation. Please pray that the hearts of the women will be opened to listen and learn. Please pray for safety in travel.

Leaders Desert Encounter, , April 9-13

Every year Musalaha conducts a leaders’ Desert Encounter for leaders of local congregations and ministries. We have found the desert to be a uniquely neutral atmosphere, where the challenges of survival and cooperation provide an excellent occasion for relationships and open communication. Please pray that this trip will be a catalyst for new friendships and that it will produce a willingness in the participants to work together long after the trip ends.

In Him,

Musalaha Team

Thanks to all who have covered this ministry and its activities in your prayers. If you would like to contribute towards covering the expenses of Musalaha projects, please send donations (tax deductible) according to following information: In the USA, checks should be made out to Reconciliation Ministries and mailed to: PO Box 238, Medina, WA 98039-0238, USA. Please attach a letter designating the funds to Musalaha. In the UK, checks should be made out to The Andrew Christian Trust and mailed to Mr. Roger Tootell, Rockwood, Storth Road, Sandside, Milnthorpe, Cumbria LA7 7PH; Registered Charity Number: 327845. Please attach a letter designating the funds to Musalaha. Donations may also be sent directly to Musalaha at the

PO Box 52110, Jerusalem,
91521.